Rooms of Joy
We will build four rooms of joy
to honour the monastic sigh, to understand
the kestrel on its perch and the wheelchair
halted at the steep curb.
We will sanctify our moon
with paint, clay and easel - letting colours and moisture
drip through our fingers,
malleable as a conscious dream.
We will bellow out music that towers over
the thieves of daylight, races into our bodies, offering grace
where there is none.
We will write poems and stories of fact
and fiction to bring
definition to our visions, to lose ourselves,
naked as the calling gulls.
We will hold our meditation stones,
like a horse’s beautiful mane, brushing,
braiding, all the while,
softly whispering our affection
into the copper-coloured ear of nature.
And the animals will bind us. The enormous love
between us all will cut away
the scar tissue of disappointment.
We will plunge into this temple, playing games,
bearing fruit. In our four rooms we will love, expand
and often falter - fresh and deep, rooted into the floorboards
of this true home.
Here, under this familiar banner
of autumn and Halloween.
The gull who died on the side of the road
was to me the drum-drum-drum
in the marrow of my bones and the truth that
my prayers can heal no one.
I am tired of the clouds and the chapel sermon
infiltrating the beads of my shower.
Senseless is the cloud, the song of guilt
and the selfish dark night. I can see
there is nothing to say to anyone about
the cold limb burnt at the veins.
Smooth, nothing has been smooth like the skin of a dolphin.
All I lack is painting circles, repeating in my head.
In the land of late October, it has not been easy
to find the starlight.
There is so much, by now, I thought I would have done.
Under a Bushel ☊
I don’t want to lie still under
this rock, like a pool
of stagnant water where larvae culminate
I would like to be laughing at the birds
in flight, a minister to their bird-needs.
I would like to take off this thick sweater,
cover my limbs with sand and wait
for the tide.
I don’t want the lost love of the past to stop me
out of fear from plunging into
a faith-induced joy, stop me from painting my skin
with visions that swim full-force in my brain.
I don’t want to be the child chained to the park bench,
hearing voices no one else takes seriously.
I won’t be swung from this dead vine,
hollow as the fear I abhor.
I will be a fountain, running, contained,
self-sufficient, a fountain
that children make wishes in and animals find drink.
I will be acceptable as I am,
to look at.
meaning nothing, fashioned by lack
and political flags.
Who will stand the light,
a suicidal winter,
the awakened ghost under the bed?
Criminals build their heaven and
sinners are so beautiful, are us
in the full of our hypocrisy, our striving, lazy wills.
Joy. I know I could blossom
if only threatened by the cliff's edge--
held hanging by God's fingers
like an insect without wings.
like sleep eventually does.
I am lost. Too preoccupied with snails and moss.
But blessed be the hunger
and the saltiness of others.
Blessed be the essential, inseparable rib,
the quenching of all our boredom.
Dirty dish, I lift
and know I am holy.
Does is matter or mean
my feet are mine,
though they cramp,
and my skin is a littered shore?
After moving in, it makes no sense to dream about
round planets or miracles hunted down
between spaces, in the flesh of dark stars.
Blessings come like other conditions, feeding,
filling, then the fish is hooked and the river goes on.
How many cupcakes can I keep? Not many. Not one.
At night I wake up absolute,
solid as a never-touched stone.
I stare at the clock and have conquered time.
For that time I am the best thing of all things to be.
For an instance, I am more than metaphor, I am witnessing.
In the day I hold out for a fickle hand’s generosity,
sweeping floors and making beds.
What a hot rhythm to keep, like kisses and eclipses of sexual elation.
Two thousand eons, and the cosmos continues as a body just born.
Spotlights and warm lights, my love is my fulcrum,
he carries me entirely in the dips above his clavicles.
He mixes me incandescent colours, enters me
like wings tightly folded, plunging into sea,
coaxes me to thicken, be a builder, take what I can
reaching my lips, filling my mouth
I am chased and must
drink to survive, to gain a flow
that does not fit amongst all this normalcy.
It plops like an explosive
on my lap and won’t allow me to forget or regret
its pull and command.
Like a ripe peach to the parched throat, it slides down
and radiates relief to all sections of my spine.
It owns me as does the rhythm of my pulse.
It keeps me a part yet binds me as one.
It is my surrender, my glad awakening. It is my freak show,
my unhappy necessity:
I bite, I swallow
and then I am brave
Climb on board
where my mystery is sharp
and dangerous. The red light
flashes on the cold embittered face -
a pale grey against a rich tone
of burgundy and black.
On my shoulders, age and history are taken
and every memory is pure, whole, experienced
by the senses, is coming back
like chaos ringing all around.
Funeral Wake ☊
Now and again, the parade of kisses
and mourning. Thunder raging at the autumn winds
and at the first sign of human folly.
Winding up like thickened blood and vowels
helplessly hanging without a word.
I may be marble, or made of damp wood.
The shattered hymn swirls around like the cry
for hope, any hope, after death.
I may be without a garden
or a plot of land to call my own,
but I do own the hours I’ve spent
digging beneath the crust,
spying on the soft turf uncovered
only in prayers and in
conversations of the crying.
I walk with these doubts as though
stranded on an unpredictable slope,
coiling and uncoiling
as I speak, and then, I hold my breath.
I heard the lies ricochet up like an island
rising and sinking from
corner to corner. I heard the wish to forget
and the need to widen
the bed of memory, sharp and just as blank
as the eyes of those
in shock or as a heart drained of music,
calmed by nothing, not by bread, not by good fortune:
This season of grief just beginning.
End of Reason ☊
I hear the echo of instability slide
through the corridors like a plague
that just missed. I hear the song and flip
like a flock of tiny birds, upside down,
bellies flat against the sky.
I feel soiled by layers of complexity,
needing to feel again protection,
the stroke of a cool summer on my lips,
needing a puppy left at my door.
I know the sun will rise on my twisted frame.
I know a red petal thrown into a pale blue sky.
I know more than a parched mouth,
more than brick painted over
or prison bars dipped in rainbow hues.
I know of tongues basted in trembling glory,
my purpose -
core, settled and pure.
After the talk,
I become like scattered seeds
on concrete. I find the money jar
empty and my stability, ruptured.
After social meanderings, after loose
conversations that never utters the words
‘death’ ‘loss’ or ‘God’ then I am everywhere, pinched
apart, thin pieces of my solitary form.
Days of quiet bring me back from the drug trip
where others thrive but I am like clay drying in the sun,
too much, too fast, too little time in the shade
so that I crack then split, and what I was cannot stand whole.
Mornings of clenching to the things
that keep me upright, build
again a solid self until I must slip (a fresh water fish)
into the salt waters of acceptable social norm.
Birds are always speaking
like fleeting lines of poetry--
these wisps of miracles, dive
into the schizophrenic’s mind,
his pathway—slow, slow and unthreatening,
they dive, but only people of the bird tribe can hear,
only other animals whose senses are heightened,
whose souls are twofold—raw and divine.
Otherwise, it is dusk and dust and love is held in,
made weak by complications and chaos in the aura.
Otherwise, the child rises from bed with dread linked
to her pyjama lace, already crushed by the world
without an inkling as to why.
Cats crouch and freeze—a culture tied to their nature.
Like them, I am tied to my nature in the way I walk--
feet down, eyes up and waiting
for that one angel to look me in the eyes
and tell me all.
Something to See
By the exit, by the winding path
the brave and the bleeding have gathered
like this, they cry out for a shoestring of mercy
and receive a little more than their worth.
I add the answers together and find
no love lacking. Yet, the ache remains, tattooed
onto the pavement like an empty wallet
driven into fresh tar.
And I remain under the cutthroat justice
Years of fighting, no more fighting for
that which God does not want to give.
Bitter is the paper that has my vision marked.
I must let my eyes water, walk through and arrive
like something fresh
on a foreign road.
Weeks arrive to lay bare
the corpse of a wasted dream –
my ideals unfounded, measured with
a spoon. I loved and I’ve had to kill that love
purposefully, stepping over
into a territory of arctic
severity and separation.
It is natural
for me, a citizenship I owned hanging out in churches,
on church benches, shushed from yawning.
I knew God more in the forest,
quickening my pace on paths
edging cliffs. Swallows circling as I did
a flawless land.
I knew God best in my bed, talking, never repeating
phrases learned, but earnestly in conversation.
I know God still sometimes
when I am close enough, able to smell our rudimentary union,
brush the locks and flares of your deep and fierce sun
as it rotates within a galaxy riddled rich with stars and asteroids,
when I am in your radar-stream,
pulverized by the intensity of your purity -
porous, cracking, becoming more,
many, smaller and such
Giving birth. Giving up
my hard-won understanding.
To fail for you is a victory that
arrives like an ultimatum,
and I am singing – this is new.
It is an embrace,
a personal annihilation to be honored,
swallowed as I am, utterly
into your glow.